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What was your favorite car at the Cleveland Auto Show?

By Steven S. Brooks Published: February 28, 2012

A coworker was at the Cleveland Auto Show over the weekend and came in very excited about what he saw. His impression was that it was bigger than it has been in years and the manufacturers were pulling out all stops with their presentations and displays. When I asked him what his favorite car of the show was, he surprised me by saying the new Subaru BRZ.  Not that I don't think this new entry level sports car (to be offered in a Scion version also) is very cool, I just thought he would pick a more exotic model.

 If you had a chance to get to the show or if you have been looking at new cars, which new model impresses you the most?

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Time for the Canton Hot Rod Show

By Steven S. Brooks Published: February 17, 2012

Even though this has been a very mild winter by all accounts, it has been a long time since cruise-in and car show season. The Canton Hot Rod Show gives enthusiasts a little taste of what we've been missing these past several months.

 Held at the Canton Memorial Civic Center this weekend, Friday, February 17 through Sunday, February 19, over 130 customized show cars and 30 motorcycles will be displayed in the warmth and comfort of the arena. Several cars have been invited from out of the area as well as some of the nicer examples of local show cars. Though this segment of the hobby is not my absolute favorite, I make a point of attending and am always impressed  by the craftsmanship involved in building these cars.

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What’s Your Favorite Road Food?

By Steven S. Brooks Published: February 16, 2012

The expanse of the U.S. highway system spawned an entirely new culinary experience in the twentieth century; the roadside restaurant.  Originally mom and pop snack shacks, they grew into chains like Howard Johnson's, Stuckey's and such. Now there are plazas on toll roads where you are actually captive to the offerings that the state has deemed appropriate.

 Regardless, everyone has their favorite road food memories. I still fondly remember stopping at the giant Isaly's when we went to visit my aunt and uncle in Youngstown. Chip-chop ham on soft, buttered white bread was better than any lobster or prime strip steak to my pre-teen taste buds, especially since I knew it would be followed by a double scoop ice cream cone. What is your favorite road food memeory?

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What vehicle gets you through Ohio winters?

By Eleanor Published: February 10, 2012

Everyone in northeast Ohio knows we've had a very mild winter  so far. We find plenty of other weather issues to complain about, but the snow and ice have been minor.  If you're happy about this situation  you're welcome! No, I am not claiming to control the weather or even have extra pull in that area, but we did trade in our Saturn Vue on a Chevy Trailblazer this fall.

The Vue was purchased in May of 2008 during the $4+ gas prices. It was a nice size for us; big enough to carry the family, pull our boat and do light hauling, but not so big that I felt I was driving a tank.  We got a great deal on the car and it got 20 mpg or more in city.  We were content in our purchase and loving the savings then came winter.  Some of the same features that allowed the Vue to get great gas mileage and made it nice to drive also made it practically worthless in the snow.  Even with extra weight and good tires hills were nearly impossible, corners were treacherous and straightaways were white knuckle experiences.

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What’s a Berkeley?

By Steven S. Brooks Published: February 2, 2012

Since you're reading a blog called Car Chase, I assume you know that I'm not asking about a place in California. Some of you may know that a Berkeley is an esoteric British sports car made in small numbers about fifty years ago. These cute, little three and four wheel convertibles were powered by two and three cylinder motorcycle engines. Due to their diminutive size and very light weight, they were very popular and reasonably successful in the early sports car racing scene. They still have a good following to this day, although collector values are still relatively low.

 The reason I bring all this up is that, as a former Berkeley owner, I occasionally do a Google search to see what's happening with them. The other day, I found a blog which chronicled a complete, professional restoration of a lucky example. As I mentioned before, Berkeley values aren't exactly at the top of the collector market so very few, if any, are professionally restored. What's even more interesting is the shop which did this wonderful work is right here in Northeast Ohio. I checked out the website for Pete's Custom Coachbuilding ( ) and was amazed to see everything from micro cars to Indy racers to pre-war Packards in their portfolio.

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